Domestic Partners Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Domestic Partners, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Domestic Partners?

n. Couples who have not married, but have long-standing relationships and live together. Domestic partners are often entitled to some marriage benefits such as health plans.

History and Meaning of Domestic Partners

Domestic partners refer to couples of the same or opposite sex who are not married but share a domestic life and are in a long-term committed relationship. Historically, unmarried cohabitation was stigmatized, and the same-sex relationships were entirely prohibited. However, the concept of domestic partnerships came into existence in the late 20th century as a means for unmarried couples to receive some of the same legal benefits as married couples, such as medical, employment, and death benefits.

Examples of Domestic Partners

  1. John and Jim are domestic partners who have been together for 10 years and live in a rented apartment in the city.
  2. Mary and Jane have been in a committed relationship for several years and have decided to become domestic partners to access health insurance benefits.
  3. Maria and Tom moved in together and decided to register as domestic partners to enjoy some of the same legal protections as married couples.

Legal Terms Similar to Domestic Partners

  1. Cohabitation: Refers to the living together of an unmarried couple.
  2. Civil union: A legal recognition of a committed relationship that is similar to marriage but not identical.
  3. Common-law marriage: Refers to a marital status that arises from living together in a long-term relationship, even without a formal marriage ceremony or license.